The prestigious weekly newspaper "Village Voice" has elected Rudresh Mahanthappa with his current album "Bird Calls" jazz musician of the year 2015.
In the last year, tireless alto-sax giant Rudresh Mahanthappa has taken Manhattan — and the world. Both are better for it. His latest record, Bird Calls, looks forward and harks back at once, conjuring up thrilling new compositions and ensemble performances from trace samplings of Charlie Parker. More "inspired by" than "tribute to," the album is brainy, brawny, and not at all a throwback — it's little surprise Bird Calls won this year's DownBeat critics poll. For Mahanthappa — who has long found inspiration in juxtapositions of global musics — Parker represents an approach, a freedom, and a logic, rather than a sound to imitate. You'll hear worlds on Bird Calls, rather than the usual run-throughs of "Salt Peanuts." In the meantime, Mahanthappa has haunted the Blue Note, paying tribute to Ornette Coleman in June and sitting in with Joanne Brackeen's trio last October for a superlative run of shows before uncorking a gusher of bubbly invention at August's Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park. If any New York night sounded better this year, we didn't hear it.